(Twitch) Streaming Tips

Posted by (twitter: @jonahisadev)
December 2nd, 2014 6:13 pm

Hey guys! Just some tips for streaming on Twitch or Hitbox or wherever you stream. I’m not the most experienced streamer, but I was able to quickly gain somewhat of a following on Twitch (How about you help out a bit?), so I would say I know enough to say this.

Talk

Don’t leave your viewers hanging. If you don’t talk, at least have music on. Just straight up silence will drive your viewers away from you, and over to Quill. Nothing annoys me more, than sitting down to a development stream, and absolutely nothing is happening. Not even music. I will tolerate streams with just music, but my personal preference is that you talk, because it’s more engaging. Getting your name said in a stream is way better than a “Hi” in chat. It also helps, because you can directly tell them what you’re making, instead of pausing to type the explanation for the millionth time. I’ve been told by actual viewers that they were watching me instead of ScepticalGamer69 because I was actually talking.

Quality

I’m not a huge stickler for quality, but it still matters, and I’m one of the generous people. I really don’t care about audio bitrate, as long as it doesn’t sound like you’re an alien from Venus. I usually have my audio bitrate at 128 kbps. I do have a pretty good mic though, which is another thing. I understand if you can’t afford a good mic, or even if you don’t want to get one because you don’t do this very often, but if I can hear you breathing and swallowing your saliva, it’s either too good, or it really sucks. Try to find that middle ground, where it sounds sharp, but it’s not too loud. As for video quality, I request that I can see what you’re typing clearly. If I can’t read your code, I will leave and go watch Quill.

Facecam?

This is really just up to you. I don’t have a webcam, so I can’t even if I wanted to, but I prefer to keep my face hidden. A facecam can make or break a stream, in my opinion. If you really sell it and make it good, it brings the viewer closer to the streamer. The conversations become more real. The viewer wants to stay, because you’re establishing more contact with them. It’s almost like you know them personally. If you really suck it up, your facecam becomes the annoying blur in the corner, and eventually becomes so irritating, people leave to watch Quill. Do you need to have a transparent background? I personally think not for a few reasons. 1) You have to be careful what color shirt you wear, because your torso may not exist on stream. 2) I’m always distracted trying to find the actually edge of the facecam. 3) It’s probably not worth the trouble. I’ve never tried. I know it’s easy, but that’s dependent on your streaming tool. When I was on Windows, I used XSplit, which made it very easy. I hear OBS makes it easy as well.

Music

I really don’t care, honestly. I can watch you with or without music, and it wouldn’t make a difference to me as a viewer. Others may think differently, but really, if it’s just playing in the background versus not at all, there’s very little difference. Not enough difference to make or break a stream. I believe I had more viewers when I had music in the background, so it obviously attracts more people, but I really don’t think not having music will drive viewers away. Really, it’s just a personal preference.

Interlude

You’ve got to take a break at some point, right? You’re probably going to get some sleep, eat something, say hi to any family/pets/monsters. Most people have a catchy, “Back in a sec!” wallpapers using a Ludum Dare wallpaper. That’s what I did last year, but I might experiment a little bit this year, and here’s my idea. Twitch is the only service I know of that allows “hosting” which basically lets you take someone’s stream and stream it to your channel, putting your viewers with their viewers. Once you unhost, viewers are once again separated, and it’s back to normal. Here’s the idea: Just because you need a break, doesn’t mean your viewers are going to take a break, or take as long of a break as you. So I think I might host a random channel streaming Ludum Dare, so people can see some more games being made, and have them right back when I want. Works as advertising, some people might do the same, and it’s better than a boring wallpaper.

So guys, there you have it! Wow, that’s a long post. Hope it was worth it. Check me out at my Twitch channel, which I mentioned at the start. And all of the Quill jokes were not attacking him at all, he’s just the guy who always steals viewers every compo. I do not expect you to have his setup if you want to stream. And again, those are all just tips, not rules. Just speaking from experience.

Good luck everyone! Hope this helped, and vote ☃! (Don’t actually, it’s too vague. Last time it was potato :P)


10 Responses to “(Twitch) Streaming Tips”

  1. Nkracer says:

    Awesome man, thanks!

  2. quill18 says:

    Great tips, Gandalf1209!

    I’m also going to suggest a few more things:

    1) In your Twitch Dashboard, make sure to set your “Game Playing” category to “Ludum Dare” so people can find you and so you show up on the main Ludum Dare page.

    2) You’ll use half as much bandwidth switching from Stereo to Mono. 128k mono is MUCH better quality than 160k stereo — we don’t need two audio channels to listen to your microphone since it’s mono to start with.

    3) Stream at high resolution so people can clearly read the text. If bandwidth is a problem, lower your framerate. 15fps is more than enough for people to watch you type — what’s important is that the letters are clear! (For your reference: I regularly stream gameplay at 1080p/30fps/2500kbps. Game dev has a lot less motion, so high quality should be achievable even with lower bandwidth — especially if you sacrifice framerate.)

    4) See if you can get Twitch chat to show up in the stream itself. It might seem redundant, but it allows people to full-screen your video and see your code more clearly while still following the chat. (I don’t do it because my chat is too “noisy”.)

    5) In addition to Gandalf’s great advice about chatting, try to include your viewers in the dev process. Yes, you have to make the game by yourself in a compo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use people’s name for NPCs or ask people if you think an animation looks good or poll people on what kind of hat the main character should wear. It’ll make the process twice as fun for them, and ten times more fun for you.

    6) I like to think that I bring new viewers to Ludum Dare, not steal them. :)

    7) Make a post-mortem video explaining your process for making the game, what went right, and what went wrong. It’ll have tremendous value for other people, but even more for you.

    — quill18

    • Gandalf1209 says:

      Thanks for the additions! Those are really good, and I’ll definitely take them into consideration. And I know you don’t steal viewers… But you’re the only guy with over 2000 viewers at once, and the guy below you has like, 102. Not a thief, just a cool guy who plays and makes video games. 😀

      Good luck man!

      – Gandalf1209

  3. Codexus says:

    Honestly, don’t stream unless you’re a regular streamer with viewers already. There will be hundreds of streams during ludum dare. A few extremely popular ones and the vast majority won’t have a single viewer. Unless you already bring enough regular viewers to keep your stream going, you’ll be one of them.

    That’s just the way it is. If you’re going to stream, that’s going to take a lot of your attention and effort away from making your game. There is no point in doing that if nobody is going to watch. LD is just not a good time to start streaming…

    • Gandalf1209 says:

      Honestly, I only got a few viewers last time anyways. It was still fun though. If I didn’t stream, I would’ve felt alone, almost. Streaming for me is like connecting with a whole bunch of people who understand me, even if it’s just two people. I normally get about 10 people on average, and most of those people watch Quill or TheCherno when Ludum Dare actually happens, which I’m totally fine with, But I would always have at least two people chatting it up and having a good time while watching me make a game, which is still cool.

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